Which are the safest universities in the UK? Read our guide to find out 👇
Staying safe may not spring to mind as a deciding factor when you’re choosing where to study. But let’s face it – some student cities are safer than others.
No one wants to hear strange noises at night or feel like they’re in danger on a late-night trip to the local shop. The last thing you want is to feel unsafe when you step outside your front door or fear being alone when your flatmates are out. Sadly, that’s the reality for many students, whether they’re living in the cite centre or a small neighbourhood.
In this handy guide, we’re counting down the top ten safest universities in the country.
1. University of Surrey
Thinking of studying at the University of Surrey? You’ll be pleased to know that this county is among the top ten safest in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with an overall crime rate of 50 crimes per 1,000 people. If you’re looking for student accommodation, Guildford stands out a as a considerably safe neighbourhood in Surrey, with only 0.3 robberies reported per 1,000 people over 3 years. Of course, that’s not the only thing that Guildford’s got going for it. Brimming with bars, cafés and restaurants, this area is buzzing with culture and is just a ten-minute stroll from the university’s beautiful campus.
2. University of Bath
Set in the World Heritage Site of Bath Spa, the University of Bath has an international reputation for teaching excellence. Regal architecture, picturesque parks and a vibrant collection of cafés and bars only add to the appeal of this institution. Not only is Bath the safest major town in Somerset, it’s also been named the safest city in the world – second only to York. Plus, according to analysis of official police data, students at the University of Bath are among the least likely to be victims of crime in the region. Although the city is not exempt of crime, Bath’s population is made up of mostly families, students, young professionals and tourists who help to keep the atmosphere safe and welcoming all year round.
3. Cambridge University
One of the world’s most prestigious universities, it’s no surprise that the community in Cambridge takes pride in their local area. This peaceful haven is known for its medieval college buildings and gorgeous green spaces, but it’s also home to a vibrant student population. When it comes to crime rates, Cambridge is far lower than most major cities in Europe, with only 3.4 burglaries per 1,000 people. When you hear that residents regularly greet each other on the street, it sounds too good to be true, and the picturesque surroundings and close-knit community make Cambridge one of the safest universities in the country.
4. University of York
Renowned for its rich cultural heritage, the historic city of York is regularly voted one of the best places to live in the UK. As a member of the prestigious Russell Group of research-intensive universities, you can guarantee the teaching standards at the University of York will be second to none. But what about safety? Once voted as the #1 safest city in the world by Post Office Travel and the safest city or town in England or Wales based on the latest crime rates, you won’t have to look over your shoulder when you study in York. Apparently, only 1% of British travellers considered the city to be “risky” – although honestly, unless you’re afraid of cathedrals, there isn’t too much danger lurking here.
5. Loughborough University
A thriving student community, first class leisure facilities, affordable accommodation and a scenic backdrop of Leicestershire’s beautiful countryside all contribute towards Loughborough’s continued popularity. Plus, this renowned institution gets bonus points for safety, as it’s located in the safest neighbourhoods of all the universities in the East Midlands. As well as ranking in the top 10 in each of the most recent national uni league tables, Loughborough has a stunning 440-acre campus that sits in a safe and secluded world of its own.
6. Falmouth University
Beautiful beaches, stunning coastal walks and culture by the boatload: there are plenty of reasons to study by the sea at Falmouth University. What you may not know about is the high level of personal safety that students feel when they study here. New figures show that Devon and Cornwall have the second lowest reported crime rate in England and Wales. At the same time, 144 extra police officers have joined the region's police force in 2020. One of the leading creative universities in the UK, Falmouth University attracts over 6,000 students from across the globe to its two campuses, creating a vibrant, diverse and safe community in the process.
7. University of St Andrews
It’s Scotland’s oldest university and holds a long-standing reputation for academic excellence: The University of St Andrews is a popular choice for the prestige and outstanding quality of life that its students and graduates report. Beyond the beautiful architecture and charming cobbled streets, the town has a strong community feel: everyone you see is either a student, a university employee or a golfer. So, it figures that the University of St Andrews is high on the list of the safest UK universities. Most crimes reported at the University of St Andrews involve vandalism, and even then, the incidence is low when compared to universities elsewhere in Scotland.
8. University of Liverpool
As well as prepping you for your professional career and expanding your knowledge, uni life is all about new experiences. When you study at the University of Liverpool, you’ll be perfectly placed to take advantage of the buzzing music scene and sample some amazing world foods while feeling relatively safe. With over 35,000 CCTV cameras dotted around Liverpool – the most of any major UK city – you can rest assured that many would-be criminals are deterred by the level of surveillance. Liverpool also has a low crime rate, with just over 59,000 reports in one year, compared to the UK average of 71,000.
9. University of Aberdeen
Founded in 1495, the University of Aberdeen has a long history of delivering world-leading research and kick-starting the careers of well-established experts. As well as ranking high on student satisfaction and graduate prospects, the University of Aberdeen is set one of Scotland’s safest cities to live and work. According to data from Police Scotland’s North East Division, Aberdeen came out as is ‘one of safest places to live’ with a “significant” fall in assaults, robberies and housebreakings reported in 2020/2021. What’s more, when 2,000 residents of Aberdeen were surveyed, almost three quarters said they felt very safe in their city. That is certainly a welcome statistic!
10. University of Exeter
Studying at the public research powerhouse that is the University of Exeter certainly has its benefits. Not only does it constantly outperform other UK cities on green spaces and cost of living, but the university has extremely low crime levels and is generally considered a very safe campus. Several years back, information from the local police department revealed that Exeter had the second lowest number of reported burglaries, muggings and drug-related offences when compared to the major university cities in the UK. That isn’t to say that incidents don’t happen or that you shouldn’t be careful, but it’s good to know that the city and university continue to uphold a reputation for student safety.
Staying safe on campus
No matter where you choose to study, you can’t avoid crime entirely. The truth is that it can happen anywhere, at any time – even to those studying at low-risk universities. Whether you’re studying in the heart of London or a remote campus uni like Keele, it’s always best to take precautions.
Ultimately, you shouldn’t avoid studying at a university because of the crime rates in the area. But it’s worth getting clued up on the crime rate of the area you’re planning to live ahead of your move so you can take those little extra steps to protect yourself.
If you feel unsafe in your accommodation, don’t hesitate to contact your Students' Union, your landlord or housing association.